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The Return of the Prodigal Son

 

“The Father”

The younger son took off. He left with his inheritance. He squandered all he had. The elder son was deeply hurt when the father ran to welcome the prodigal younger son home. The painting is a scene of tension.

Perhaps we know what it is like to have been foolish.... to have made mistakes? Perhaps we have also known what it is like to have resentment... when we see others getting recognition when we feel we should have at least be given a "thank you"? In some ways, it is not hard to relate to either the younger son or the elder son, but what does it mean to become like the "father." This is the focus Henri Nouwen leads us to in his book, The Return of the Prodigal Son.

In our study of Rembrandt and Nouwen, we ask ourselves, "What do I need to do to become like the father?"

For Nouwen, this is the question:

Can I give without wanting anything in return, love without putting any conditions on my love? Considering my immense need for human recognition and affection, I realize that it will be a lifelong struggle. But I am also convinced that each time I step over this need and act free of my concern for return, I can trust that my life can truly bear fruits of God’s Spirit. (128)

Nouwen suggests three committments to become as the father. We hope you will join us this Sunday, 9:30 a.m., at the Churchville Presbyterian Finney Class as we continue our study of The Return of the Prodigal Son.

In Christ,